Casting Announced for Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, featuring In the Heights, Henry IV, Part 2, The Tempest, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Center Valley, PA: March 24, 2023—Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Artistic Director Jason King Jones introduces the first casting for this summer’s season. As previously announced the Festival will produce Henry IV, Part 2, In the Heights, The Tempest, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill; along with children’s theatre productions of James and the Giant Peach and Shakespeare for Kids. The season runs May 31 through August 6, at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, on the campus of DeSales University in Center Valley, PA. Leading roles have been filled by award-winning actors with an extensive list of Broadway and Off-Broadway credits, as well as roles in top regional theatres, television and film.
Opening the summer on the Main Stage is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton breakout hit musical In the Heights featuring Danny Bolero as Kevin Rosario. Bolero played Kevin on Broadway and originated the role in the 1st National Tour. Last year he appeared on Broadway in Plaza Suite, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick. His additional Broadway credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (revival), plus tours of Joseph and Man of La Mancha; and the regional productions of Evita, Selena, and Nine. He recently was awarded the 2022 Bistro Award for his one-man cabaret show, They Call Me Cuban Pete, playing Desi Arnaz. His latest film Townhouse Confidential is currently streaming, as well as his voice-over as Abuelo in Alma’s Way for PBS Kids.
Joining Bolero in the cast is Ryan Reyes as Usnavi, who reprises the role following his performance at the Rubicon Theatre Company, in Ventura, California. Reyes made his Off-Broadway debut at New World Stages in the new musical !Americano¡ as Fro Valdovinos. His select regional credits include Chino in West Side Story at Florida Repertory Theatre and Ritchie Valens in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at North Shore Music Theatre. An alumnus of the DeSales University theatre program, Reyes was last seen at the Festival in 2021 as Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Don Armado in the Young Company’s Shakespeare Project: Love’s Labour’s Lost. When not on the stage, Reyes is a horse trainer and stuntman for Western independent films.
William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2 opens the Festival in the Schubert Theatre featuring John Ahlin reprising the role of Sir John Falstaff following his 2019 performance in Henry IV, Part 1 and The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2010. This is Ahlin’s eighth PSF production, which include Fiddler on the Roof and Playboy of the Western World. His Broadway credits include Waiting for Godot, Journey’s End (2007 Tony Award Best Revival), The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo’ Time, Whoopee! and Macbeth. Off-Broadway credits include Orson Welles in Orson’s Shadow, Wolsey/Chapuys in A Man For All Seasons, and dozens more. Ahlin has also appeared at top regional theatres around the country. Additionally, he has been on television and film in Law and Order: SVU, Late Night with David Letterman, the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and the upcoming Space Cadet. As a playwright, his award-winning plays include Gray Area, My Witch: The Margaret Hamilton Stories, and ChipandGus, co-authored with Christopher Patrick Mullen, who joins him in the Henry IV, Part 2 cast.
Festival audiences will fondly remember Christopher Patrick Mullen who has appeared in numerous leading roles at the Festival since its inception in 1992. This season Mullen will play Hastings/Francis/Silence in Henry IV, Part 2, Caliban in The Tempest and Sir John Middleton in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. His notable PSF credits include The Mystery of Irma Vep, Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare in Love, King Richard II, Loveʼs Labour’s Lost, Julius Caesar, Pericles, Charleyʼs Aunt, Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker. Select regional credits include performances at Baltimore Center Stage, Hedgerow Theater, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, and Arden Theatre Company.
This summer William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Jessica Swale’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility will play in rotating repertory on the Main Stage. Robert Cuccioli makes his PSF debut as Prospero in The Tempest. He is best known for his critically acclaimed Tony nominated performance as the dual title roles in the Broadway hit musical Jekyll & Hyde, for which he received the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, FANY, and Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. Other Broadway credits include Inspector Javert in Les Misérables and Dr. Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Off-Broadway credits include And The World Goes ‘Round (Outer Critics Circle Award), Rothschild and Sons (Offie nomination – London), Jacques Brel, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Snow Orchid, White Guy on the Bus, The White Devil, Caesar & Cleopatra, Mrs. Warren’s Profession and, most recently, A Touch of the Poet at Irish Repertory Theatre. His television and film credits include The Sinner, Elementary, White Collar, Sliders, Baywatch, The Guiding Light, Woody Allen’s Celebrity, The Stranger, Impossible Monsters, and The Rest of Us. He is currently involved with the new musical Mozart: Her Story now in development. Recently he performed the role of Malvolio in Twelfth Night at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.
Joining Cuccioli in The Tempest, and new to PSF, is Sarah Gliko as Ariel, who will play in repertory as Elinor in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Gliko is an actor/musician and founding member of Philadelphia’s Wilma HotHouse Acting Company, where select productions include KISS, The Cherry Orchard, Minor Character, Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Drama League Award Nomination), Constellations (Barrymore Nomination, Lead Performance), When the Rain Stops Falling (Barrymore Award, Ensemble), the US premiere of Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem, and the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq. Other recent credits include Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s Mountain Home Christmas, TOWN at Theatre Horizon; alongside Bebe Neuwirth in A Small Fire, and The Bridges of Madison County (Barrymore Award, Lead Performance), both at Philadelphia Theatre Company. She has also performed at Arden Theatre Company, Lantern Theater Company, and Walnut Street Theatre.
Closing out the season in the Schubert Theatre is Lanie Robertson’s musical Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill starring Ebony Pullum in the leading role of Billie Holiday. Also making her PSF debut, Pullum is an actress, singer and teaching artist based out of Philadelphia and New York City who reprises the role of Billie Holiday following her performances at Florida Repertory Theatre and Curio Theatre Company. Some of her recent regional credits include her Barrymore Award-winning performance as Shug Avery in The Color Purple at Theatre Horizon and Paulina in The Winter’s Tale at Curio Theatre. Additionally, she has performed at Lantern Theater, The Kimmel Center, Quintessence Theatre, and in New York at Robert Moss Theater and June Havoc Theatre.
“The team of artists we have assembled perfectly encapsulates the spirit of PSF’s 32nd season: a rich combination of legacy talent and experience combined with an infusion of new people, energy, and ideas,” says Jason King Jones. “These extraordinary artists will make the jewel that is PSF shine brightly this summer, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Single tickets, subscriptions, and packages are on sale now and can be purchased online at pashakespeare.org, by calling the Box Office at 610.282.WILL , or in person at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University.
Media Inquiries, including headshots of the artists and interviews, can be made by email to Tina Slak, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the ambitious line-up, PSF will present several special events including the annual Luminosity Gala, pre-show dinners with the Directors and Shakespearean scholars, the “Play On!” Community Tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a Community Day on July 1. More details will be shared in upcoming announcements.
The 2023 Season Sponsors are Yvonne Payne and Edward Spitzer. The Associate Season Sponsors are Douglas Dykhouse, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan, The Szarko Family, and the Harry C. Trexler Trust.
Summer Season 2023:
“Play On!” Community Tour: Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performing in several locations throughout the Lehigh Valley (June 2 to June 18).
Schubert Theatre: Henry IV, Part 2 (May 31 to June 11); James and the Giant Peach (July 7 to Aug 5); Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (July 19 to August 6).
Main Stage: In the Heights (June 14 to July 2); The Tempest (July 12 to August 6); Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (July 20 to August 5); Shakespeare for Kids (July 26 to August 5).
Bard Outdoors: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again] (June 28 to July 16).
Jason King Jones, Artistic Director
Casey William Gallagher, Managing Director
Dennis Razze, Associate Artistic Director
About Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is the only professional Equity theatre of its scope and scale within a 50-mile radius. PSF is one of only a handful of theatres on the continent producing Shakespeare, musicals, classics, and contemporary plays, all of which can normally be seen in repertory and in multiple spaces within a few visits in a single summer season. Similarly, PSF was among just a handful of theatres on the continent in recent summers to produce three Shakespeare plays in a single summer season. A patron would have to travel seven to nine hours from PSF to find a comparable range of offerings at a single theatre within a few weeks’ time.
The Festival’s award-winning company of many world-class artists includes Broadway, film, and television veterans, and winners and nominees of the Tony, Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, Hayes, Lortel, and Barrymore awards. A leading Shakespeare theatre with a national reputation for excellence, PSF has received coverage in The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine, Playbill.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and in recent seasons The New York Times has identified PSF as one of the leading summer theatre festivals in the nation. “A world-class theater experience on a par with the top Bard fests,” is how one New York Drama Desk reviewer characterized PSF.
Founded in 1992 and the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PSF’s mission is to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience through first-rate productions of classical and contemporary plays, with a core commitment to Shakespeare and other master dramatists, and through an array of education and mentorship programs. A not-for-profit theatre, PSF receives significant support from its host, DeSales University, from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Traditionally, with 150 performances over ten weeks, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 30 years, PSF has offered 200+ total productions (82 Shakespeare), and entertained 1,000,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 34,000-40,000 in attendance each summer season, plus another 13,000 students each year through its WillPower Tour to schools. PSF is a multi-year recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts: Shakespeare in American Communities, and is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). In 2013, leaders of the world’s premiere Shakespeare theatres gathered at PSF as the Festival hosted the international STA Conference. The Festival’s vision is for world-class theatre.